A/N: I used some sketches from a person's dream to fuel this particular fic, and I hope you like it. If you want to see the illustrations, contact me and I'll point you in the right direction.
For Makani, because her art rocks and I stole her dream to write this.
Disclaimer: Alas, I own nothing.
Perhaps, if his brain hadn't been reeling and the world hadn't been collapsing around him, Lucius would have taken a moment to enjoy the fresh air and tousling breeze associated with being away from Azkaban. Perhaps, if he hadn't been running down a deserted corridor of a secret hideout, he would have taken a moment to relish in the fact that he was no longer having hallucinations of pineapples and living off food that seemed to stare back at him.
Lucius wished that what he'd heard had been a hallucination.
He had not been here for more than a minute when he'd heart it: the shouts, all of which mingled together and formed a blur in his mind, and finally a shouted Unforgivable Curse. The Unforgivable Curse. Part of him wished that he had not heard what he'd heard, or at least part of it. He wished that the voices he'd heard had not included a voice more precious to him than any other in the entire world. Though, as he reached the large oak door to the Dark Lord's chamber, he knew that neither Azkaban nor insanity could have created such a terrible hallucination.
His footsteps slowing to almost a halt, Lucius planted his palms on the door and forced it roughly open. In one fluid motion he stepped inside, his tattered grey and white standing out like a sore thumb amidst a mass of crisp and clean black. A handful of Death Eaters stood there in a semicircle: Bellatrix and Rodolphus and Snape. Voldemort stood there as well with his wand held aloft, the tip sending the slightest of smoke into the darkness of the room, his smug expression turning to Lucius as he ran into the room and felt his heart drop. Lying on the ground in a heap of blue dress and white-blonde hair was Narcissa. His Narcissa.
An audible gasp escaped from Lucius' lips and he darted forward without delay. How could this have happened? He asked himself this over and over as he neared the crumpled heap that was his wife. Narcissa was supposed to be sitting at home in peace, fixing herself dinner or reading a book.
Back before prison, Lucius had loved to watch as Narcissa read, curled up on the couch or in her favorite chair. Even then, even in their first few years of marriage, her expressions could tell him what was going on in her novel as she read. Whether it be a smirk, snarl or sneer, Lucius had been able to tell. For sure, once he had picked her up and moved her hair from her face, her aristocratic features would be mischievously set and surely she would say something like, "I gotcha!" or "That's what you get for getting your arse shipped off to prison on me. I thought I'd lost you and now you thought you'd lost me. We're square."
Bus alas, it wasn't meant to be. All eyes fell on Lucius as he dashed forward and dropped to his knees in front of her, picking her up as he used to when she fell asleep on the couch and staring down into her expressionless, paling face.
"Narcissa," he whispered, his voice catching in his disbelief.
Lucius raised a hand and gently touched the side of her face, unable to believe that her skin was becoming so cold. The Death Eaters and Voldemort watched as his expression became one of startled incredulity, horror and shock mingled with fear. Bellatrix placed a hand over her heart and watched as Lucius gently closed her sister's eyes. Inside, Bellatrix was fighting a battle with herself. How could her beloved Master, the one who had taught her everything she knew, possibly do this to her? Bellatrix had been the most loyal and yet, her own family had been discarded as if it were nothing. She sought her husband's hand and Rodolphus gripped her's tightly. Everything was wrong.
Lucius looked up at Voldemort as he held his wife, his teeth bared. "How could you do this?" he shouted, a wave of fury taking over all reason. His limbs shook. "She was on our side and you killed her like a filthy Mudblood! How could you?"
Snape's fingers twitched and he frowned deeply at his friend, grief punctuating into his heart and mind. He willed himself not to show weakness, but as Lucius kneeled there with his dead wife in his arms, Snape could not help but let the slightest sorrow show on his otherwise unresponsive face. Voldemort laughed coldly and placed his wand into his pocket as if he had just enjoyed a cup of tea and a joke.
"You and your son have both failed me, Lucius," He said nonchalantly in his snake-like voice, as if he were merely commenting on the wallpaper. "Take this as incentive to do your task properly next time."
"Incentive!" Screamed Lucius, just short of going mad.
In truth, he would have gone mad had his life not been on the line at that moment, what with him having screamed at his master. He took his wife's head and held it protectively to his chest, cradling her gently and savoring the feeling of her silky tresses.
"Incentive, and a lesson as well," Voldemort confirmed with a smug nod, and turned away from Lucius. The Dark Lord paused on his way out the door and called casually over his shoulder, "Severus, Bellatrix and Rodolphus, come quickly. I have a message for you to relay to the Minister…"
Rodolphus and Snape tore their eyes off of Lucius, who was staring at his master's retreating back as if he had been slapped around the face. Snape and Rodolphus glanced once at each other, seeing one another's darkened expressions and hidden grief for a fleeting moment before they turned and followed Voldemort from the room. Bellatrix lingered behind longer, though, sinking to her knees in front of Lucius.
"Lucius?" she whispered; her voice was shaky and full of hesitance and sadness.
Lucius ignored her and instead cast his eyes upon Narcissa – his guiding light and reason for staying sane in a cold world. With a sigh, Bellatrix slowly rose to her feet and left after the others, pausing in the doorway to wipe a tear away from her face with trembling fingers.
A feeling began to fill Lucius. Slowly at first, then faster as he became rapidly consumed by it. It was a whirlwind of emotion, the terrible weight of the truth fell down on him at once in a rush of sorrow and anger. He clutched his wife's small frame to his chest and bared his teeth as he stared at the door through which Voldemort had disappeared. A plume of fire had arisen in his chest, a sworn promise that he growled in a livid voice while a single tear slipped down his cheek:
"You'll pay for this."